Razorback Running Revival Race Report – Eric McCulley

Race: Razorback Running Revival 50M/55k/10M

Runner: Eric McCulley

Race Date: 11/06/2021

Location: Lake Fort Smith, Mountainburg, Arkansas

Results: DFL

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

  1. The founder and the race director were both very hands on with the race.
  2. The course was exceptionally well marked.
  3. If you want to be challenged physically and mentally, this course will do it and take a lot out of you before the finish line, but there’s a lot of great scenery along the way.

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

The only thing I can think of is the food selection at the aid stations was very little. I was really hoping for some soup especially, but none was there.

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

I don’t know if this is recommended or not, but the river water was clear enough, and in my opinion, pure enough to drink without filtration. I personally filled my handheld 3 times with the river water and gulped it right down. It was better than most city water.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

I saw several baby blue racers which I found interesting. I didn’t want an easy race, and boy did I get my wish on that one. All the people I talked to were very upbeat and positive. No one seemed to regret doing the race or had a bad thing to say about the race or the directors of the race.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

I have 2 strong suggestions here, and mind you, this was my first ultra, and my first technical trail race, so take it for what it is worth.

  1. If you know there will be water crossings during the race, make sure your shoes are up for it. Mine weren’t. I ran in Saucony Periguins. The traction was good, and so was the toe protection. But the insoles fell apart after the first river crossing.
  2. What ever nutrition you think you need to take with you, double or even triple that amount. It may only be 8 to 10 miles between aid stations, but that is hours of time.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Most of this is in the lesson for others, but I would also add, either plan to stay overnight after the race or find someone to go with to drive, especially if hours away from home. I was 9 hours away, and a driver would have allowed me to sleep on the way home.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

It has steep ups and steep downs with lots of rocks and multiple water crossings.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

There is a huge lake there with waterfall. The park is clean, and everything was easily accessible except the finish line.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

This course is very difficult, mostly single track, rocky, and has several steep inclines and declines. It may not be Mount Everest or whatever, but it is still a mountain race nonetheless.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

John and Emily very much know what they’re doing. They’re not necessarily going to babysit you and hold your hand, but they’ll make sure the race starts on time, get the drop bags to their locations, have the volunteers organized and be waiting for you at the finish line.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

The field seemed to be a mixed bag of strong experienced runners to beginners like me. It wasn’t a huge field, but as people go, it was a quality field.

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

To get in the race, simply go to Ultrasignup.com or Google Razorback Running Revival and you’ll find it. Accommodations seem like they’re bountiful enough, but I didn’t look too much into it, as I had planned to dirtbag it the entire time.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Aid stations were nothing special at all. After spending years listening to runners on podcasts talk about the aid station smorgasbords, this is the one area I was disappointed.

Weather and typical race conditions

This year the weather was beautiful. It started around 37 degrees. Got a little warm in the afternoon. I heard some say the mid 60s. But overall, no rain or snow or wind, so it was a great day on the trail.

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?

Typical trail gear will get you through this race fine.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

No. This is definitely not a spectator friendly race.

How’s the Razorback Revival Swag?

I think the swag is great. I got a t-shirt, a collapsible cup, a tin coffee mug, a wristband, a small towel or neck wrap (not sure what it’s called), a couple of stickers, and a water bottle.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

If I were to score the Razorback Running Revival on a 5 star rating, I would give it a solid 4.8 stars.